Honolulu Star-Advertiser columnist Dave Shapiro recently wrote one of the funniest pieces I’ve ever read! It was entitled, “ ‘Futless’ stands alone, unmatched by any word.”
He had used the word in a previous column to describe the problems of a high-placed government official. Many responded to the use of this "only-in-Hawaii" word. Some thought is was a typographical error and should have read “fruitless.” A few, unfamiliar with local vernacular, didn’t know the word.
Shapiro quips, “I’d love to take credit for coining a terrific new word, but this is one of those wonderfully evocative terms that came out of Hawaii’s melting pot of cultures.” It’s the kind of word that’s hard to define, but those familiar with it, know exactly what it means.
Shapiro’s favorite explanation was attributed to an unnamed source in an on-line discussion about slang: “You know when you’re sitting on the couch, idly flipping through channels on the TV, half watching whatever’s on, but dissatisfied because you know you ought to be doing something real, and would be happier doing something real, but half an hour later you’re still on the couch? That’s futless.”
The Leadership Lesson
Over the years, I’ve seen many “futless” leaders, who create “futless” teams, that eventually manifest “futless” organizations.
“Futless” organizations create "FUD" - Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt. Team members end up Frustrated, Unhappy and Disillusioned.
The opposite of “futlessness” is "fruitfulness." Real leaders produce fruitful, sustainable results through clear vision, principled-centered leadership, continuously improving systems, and competent, committed people.
Are you “futless" or "fruitful?” Think about it!